ITEA 2019 Winners

Winners of the 2019 Inspiring Teacher of English Award

Speech by Ms Low Yen Ling,
Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Manpower

Press Release for the Inspiring Teacher of English Award 2019


ITEA 2019 - Teaching Award Category

Primary School Category

Mrs Joy Drysdale

CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh)

ITEA 2019 Joy Drysdale

“I am confident and unafraid to be myself when I am in the classroom. Being unafraid also means having the courage to admit failure. Failure, to me, is proof that I have been trying. Failure also means that I have the opportunity to review my assumptions and consider other teaching approaches.

I am driven to help students who struggle with the English language. I make language come alive in an environment that provides them with opportunities for achieving success and strengthens their belief in their potential to become effective communicators. Enabling these students to blossom into confident and capable users of English is what fuels my practice of teaching every day.”

Secondary School Category

Mr Jeffrey Ong

Hua Yi Secondary School

ITEA 2019 Jeffrey Ong

“Students should be given ample opportunities to make connections between what they learn and what they experience in their daily life. Student choice and student voice are key tenets for creating interest in and breathing life into the learning of the English language. I revel in the joy of students when they uncover the nuances of meaning in a text and share their passion for producing video clips, composing songs and designing rap performances. I am humbled by what I have learned from my students in these shared experiences and, for that, I am grateful.

To imagine, illuminate and inspire - that is the journey I walk with my students.”

Mdm Cheong Swee Choo Marianne

National Junior College (Secondary Section)

ITEA 2019 Marianne Cheong

“I enjoy being involved in the intellectual and emotional development of young persons as they grow and become more confident and comfortable through their acquisition of language. I believe that language frees and forms the person.

An experience which has given me much food for thought was in designing and facilitating a collaborative learning project that involved students from National Junior College and from different courses of study in Anderson Secondary School and CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent. The primary aim of the project was to provide the students with an opportunity – through collaboratively making sense of and responding to recent reports on education and social mobility in Singapore – to discover that they themselves were also the object of the reports. What struck me most was how the students communicated so easily and effectively across educational and social lines with their peers and how they were engaged and invested in the learning experience.

I believe that language lessons must have meaning for students. The language they acquire has to help them better understand and explain, and make connections among diverse ideas and issues.”

Junior College and Centralised Institute Category

Mr Nicholas Perry

Hwa Chong Institution (College Section)

ITEA 2019 Nicholas Perry

“I have been privileged to teach English Literature and the General Paper in Hwa Chong Institution for just over three decades.

I fall back on my theatrical experience to fully engage the students – I believe a lecture should be similar to a stage performance. As is the case in acting: articulation, pace and energy are all components that should be seamlessly combined to deliver the material. Recently, with the inclusion of Singaporean poetry into the syllabus, it has been gratifying to be able to study the work of several poets whom I have actually taught.”

Ms Kok Li-en

Eunoia Junior College

ITEA 2019 Kok Li-en

“What drives me to teach the General Paper is a strong conviction in the importance of argumentative reasoning and how scary our society and this world would be if we collectively lost that ability. Unfortunately, we live in an age where people tend to react emotionally and rush to denounce the other side, instead of reasoning with it.

If there has ever been a time when educating our next generation to consider multiple perspectives, challenge assumptions and form balanced and mature opinions on issues is imperative, I think that time would be now. It is my belief that youths do have an innate desire to be heard, valued and taken seriously, so I try my best to honour and enable that consistently in my classroom, as well as equip them with the critical thinking and writing skills that they would need for life.”

ITEA 2019 - Leadership Award Category

Primary School Category

Mdm Shanthi Deenathayalan

Guangyang Primary School

ITEA 2019 Shanthi

“I believe that language teaching is not all about the mechanics of a language. More importantly, it is to enable students to communicate effectively. My teachers and I seek to guide our students to use language accurately, fluently and appropriately in different social contexts. We design tasks to allow students to learn and apply their knowledge, and involve them in their own learning so that they can become confident users of the language. By connecting the classroom to the real world, we can show our students the relevance of the language and increase their engagement in the learning process.

As a curriculum leader, I am privileged to mentor teachers in their professional learning as they put their students at the heart of all they do. Together, and with passion in our hearts and a dedication to excellence, we can definitely make a positive impact on our students’ learning and use of English.”

Mdm Uma Perumal

Montfort Junior School

ITEA 2019 Uma Perumal

“‘Every child can learn. Every child wants to learn.’ However, every child learns differently too. Over the years, I have learned to review and adjust my teaching practices to cater to the different needs of my students. Every day when I step into my classroom, I look forward to sharing my passion for the English language with my students. I make use of poems, riddles, role-play, Reader’s Theatre and LEGO to engage my students and help them to create positive associations with the language. I want to ignite in them a love for English so I celebrate every success, no matter how small it may be, to help them see that they are making progress and encourage them to set higher standards for themselves in the learning of English.

Learning English is an adventure that has many twists and turns, and ups and downs, but I will continue to explore effective pedagogical practices to keep my students enthralled in the midst of it all!”

Secondary School Category

Mrs Goh Kaixin

Presbyterian High School

ITEA 2019 Goh Kaixin

“Teaching puts me in a position of responsibility, and it is my duty to be a positive influence in my students’ lives. It is also gratifying to be able to bring out the best in young people. Teaching gives me the opportunity to shift and shape beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. As my students come from diverse backgrounds, it is through my interactions with them that I hope to be able to provide them with the different support they need to navigate and make sense of their own and their collective experiences of school life and life in general.

I explore ways to add value to my students’ current academic and non-academic development with the hope that they will graduate from school as better persons than when they first entered it. The relationships we form are priceless, and I feel a deep sense of joy when I see my students doing well in life, years after they have graduated from secondary school.”

Junior College and Centralised Institute Category

Mr Gabriel Chin

St Andrew’s Junior College

ITEA 2019 Gabriel Chin

“It is never about the subject we teach, but about the kind of person that we bring into the world through what we teach each day. That is my mantra, and it has kept me going for the past 16 years in the teaching profession.

As educators, we need to constantly reflect on whether what we teach in class is relevant. More significantly, instead of simply imparting knowledge that will eventually become outdated, our challenge is to teach our students to see the myriad possibilities ahead of them by building their capacity for self-directed learning. Many of the students I have taught over the years may not remember what was taught in the General Paper; but interestingly, most would remember what I have said about the need to be critical thinkers.”